At the moment of discussing IT solutions with our clients, we use to introduce the concept of “Managed IT Services”. For networks ranging from 10 to 100 computers, we believe that an efficient way to handle business continuity is to suggest that a particular network should “go managed”. Usually offices have an office manager who knows basic IT but cannot face the odds of a potential disaster recovery. That is why IT companies in Westchester come into play to ensure redundancy and continuity of a business under a fee.
As everything in life, managed IT is a process composed of steps and procedures that need to be first approved by the business owner and then implemented by the IT Company that will manage the network for a period of time under a fee.
It is now time to discuss some of them here and clarify some points:
1) Network Assessment
Before even getting started, the IT company should have a tour of the company IT infrastructure and see where the physical appliances are located (wires, modem, firewall, servers etc. etc.).
2) Provide Best Suggestions
If, for example, some of the appliances are located in an unsafe place, such as near a faucet, or on the ground, IT managers should suggest the removal of these network components from the existing location to a safer place.
3) Check The Status of the Network Components
If a business network has still Windows Server 2003 – which is not supported anymore since a couple of years-, your network is at risk of infections and should budget the replacement of that server with Windows Server 2012 or 2016. The same is for firewalls: if your firewall is not a UTM (Unified Threat Management) type, your network can still be attacked by malware.
4) Check the Status of WIFI
We live in the age of BYOD and you can imagine what can happen if employees and guests can login in the same Wireless Network: the network is at risk of carrying infections. Better in this case to upgrade your WIFI infrastructure to CISCO access points that provide VLANS and guest networks so that the bad guys can be kept at large.
5) Check Each Single Computer
Each single computer should be joined to the Domain Controller of the network and should only have a standard account. The benefits of a standard account is the reduced risk of installing malicious software that can trigger a spread of viruses across the entire network.
6) Check the Printers and Copiers
In a traditional office, printers should not be WIFI but should just be hooked up to the network via Ethernet. Make sure that all printers pick up a static IP and that all the network users can print and scan from their machines.
7) Discourage to Remote in to the Office from Home
The Security Industry is still not enough developed to guarantee that a home user cannot take down the entire network while working from home. By definition, VPNs are secure but users are not trained enough to stay away from sensitive information of the company.
8) Provide a Bulletproof Backup
This step is really crucial and ensures that, in case of a disaster, there will be a minimum downtime. Serves should be backed up locally and to a cloud services; individual workstations should also back up their files to cloud services such as One Drive provided by Microsoft.
9) Provide Users Education
Educating users is the best practice a manager can ever do: IT managers by themselves cannot do much to keep a network efficient and secure. What is needed in a large network is users’ education and cooperation. A smart IT manager will organize seminars within the same company and will explain on the board how users can become proactive against any attack coming from inside and outside of the network they use every day.
Managing an entire network of users means not only fixing issues here and there, but also educating users that a healthy network begins with the knowledge of the best security practices and the implementation of common sense.